Reactionaries Attack the Hugo Awards Again

The finalists for the 2016 Hugo Awards for science-fiction and fantasy were announced today, and it looks like the Puppies are at it again. As The Guardian reports, the majority of nominees promoted by The Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies — groups that “campaign against a perceived bias towards liberal and leftwing science-fiction and fantasy authors” — made the final ballot.

The Sad Puppies, founded in 2013 by writer Larry Correia, criticize the Hugos for favoring “academic” works that allegedly promote left-leaning messages. In 2015, Theodore Beale — a “self-described ‘fundamentalist’” whose racism, as Ryan Britt explained in Electric Literature, is well-known — founded the more radical and political Rabid Puppies.

Since Hugo nominations are determined by voters, the Puppies have stirred controversy by actively campaigning for the inclusion of works that conform to their ideologies. After buying a membership to the annual World Science Fiction Convention, voters can nominate up to five works per category, and the five works with the highest numbers of votes make the ballot.

To the chagrin of many authors — including George RR Martin and Connie Willis, who declared the Hugos “broken” and rife with “bullying” — the Puppies have been successful. Some writers, like Alastair Reynolds, have requested that the Puppies remove them from their lists of recommendations. Faced with a ballot full of Puppies-backed nominees last year, voters declined to select winners in an unprecedented 5 categories. This year, 4,032 nominating ballots were cast — a new record. Of the 80 works recommended by Beale, 62 snagged spots on the shortlist, including an essay that Beale wrote under his pen name, Vox Day.

Here is a partial list of the 2016 Hugo Awards Finalists. A full list is available on The Hugo Awards website:

Best Novel (3695 nominating ballots)

  • Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
  • The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher (Roc)
  • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
  • Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow)
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Del Rey)

Best Novella (2416 nominating ballots)

  • Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
  • The Builders by Daniel Polansky (Tor.com)
  • Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum)
  • Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson (Dragonsteel Entertainment)
  • Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds (Tachyon)

Best Novelette (1975 nominating ballots)

  • “And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead” by Brooke Bolander (Lightspeed, Feb 2015)
  • “Flashpoint: Titan” by CHEAH Kai Wai (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
  • “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang, trans. Ken Liu (Uncanny Magazine, Jan-Feb 2015)
  • “Obits” by Stephen King (The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Scribner)
  • “What Price Humanity?” by David VanDyke (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)

Best Short Story (2451 nominating ballots)

  • “Asymmetrical Warfare” by S. R. Algernon (Nature, Mar 2015)
  • The Commuter by Thomas A. Mays (Stealth)
  • “If You Were an Award, My Love” by Juan Tabo and S. Harris (voxday.blogspot.com, Jun 2015)
  • “Seven Kill Tiger” by Charles Shao (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
  • Space Raptor Butt Invasion by Chuck Tingle (Amazon Digital Services)

Best Graphic Story (1838 nominating ballots)

  • The Divine written by Boaz Lavie, art by Asaf Hanuka and Tomer Hanuka (First Second)
  • Erin Dies Alone written by Grey Carter, art by Cory Rydell (dyingalone.net)
  • Full Frontal Nerdity by Aaron Williams (ffn.nodwick.com)
  • Invisible Republic Vol 1 written by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman, art by Gabriel Hardman (Image Comics)
  • The Sandman: Overture written by Neil Gaiman, art by J.H. Williams III (Vertigo)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form (2904 nominating ballots)

  • Avengers: Age of Ultron written and directed by Joss Whedon (Marvel Studios; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
  • Ex Machina written and directed by Alex Garland (Film4; DNA Films; Universal Pictures)
  • Mad Max: Fury Road written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nico Lathouris, directed by George Miller (Village Roadshow Pictures; Kennedy Miller Mitchell; RatPac-Dune Entertainment; Warner Bros. Pictures)
  • The Martian screenplay by Drew Goddard, directed by Ridley Scott (Scott Free Productions; Kinberg Genre; TSG Entertainment; 20th Century Fox)
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens written by Lawrence Kasdan, J. J. Abrams, and Michael Arndt, directed by J.J. Abrams (Lucasfilm Ltd.; Bad Robot Productions; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form (2219 nominating ballots)

  • Doctor Who: “Heaven Sent” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay (BBC Television)
  • Grimm: “Headache” written by Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt, directed by Jim Kouf (Universal Television; GK Productions; Hazy Mills Productions; Open 4 Business Productions; NBCUniversal Television Distribution)
  • Jessica Jones: “AKA Smile” written by Scott Reynolds, Melissa Rosenberg, and Jamie King, directed by Michael Rymer (Marvel Television; ABC Studios; Tall Girls Productions;Netflix)
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: “The Cutie Map” Parts 1 and 2 written by Scott Sonneborn, M.A. Larson, and Meghan McCarthy, directed by Jayson Thiessen and Jim Miller (DHX Media/Vancouver; Hasbro Studios)
  • Supernatural: “Just My Imagination” written by Jenny Klein, directed by Richard Speight Jr. (Kripke Enterprises; Wonderland Sound and Vision; Warner Bros. Television)

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